Monthly Archives: February 2009

In Memoriam: Susan Bullock – 1959-2009

This is a reprint of the obituary that ran in the Boston Globe on February 25, 2009. A tribute to Susan will appear in a forthcoming issue of Literary Matters.

Poet Susan Bullock of the Back Bay section of Boston died unexpectedly at home on Friday, February 20th, 2009. Beloved daughter of Joan Bullock of Camden, ME and Rodway Bullock of Elizabeth, NJ, sister of Stephen Bullock and his wife Deborah of New Bedford, MA and Christopher Bullock and his wife Mary of Huntington, CT, and beloved aunt to Ashley and Alysha Bullock of Huntington, CT. She also leaves behind her cherished companions Pushkin and Luba. Born in Somerville, NJ in 1959, Susan graduated Somerville High School in 1977 and Wellesley College in 1981, after which she lived in Europe. Returning to the States, she then studied modern lyric poetry. Her poems have appeared in Persephone, Harvard Review, Princeton Theological Review, English, Ars Interpres, Stand, and Literary Imagination. She has received fellowships from the Thomas Watson Foundation and Four Oaks Foundation. An avid world traveler, Susan’s poetry reflected her immersion in the places she visited. She is the author of Selected Poems, an anthology of her work. Susan was Director of Community Relations and Internal Communications at Pioneer Investments in Boston. She served on the Board of Directors of the St. Boniface Haiti Foundation, the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics, On the Rise, a women’s shelter in Cambridge, and New England Home for Little Wanderers. Her biggest fundraising effort through Pioneer Investments was for the Roberto Bazzoni Onlus, a charity supporting the Luisa Guidotti Hospital in Mutoko Zimbabwe. A memorial service will be held Saturday, February 28th at 12PM at Houghton Chapel, Wellesley College, 106 Central St., Wellesley MA 02481. In lieu of flowers, donations in her name can be sent to The Roberto Bazzoni Onlus-Project Zimbabwe, c/o Pioneer Investments, 60 State Street, Boston, MA 02109 or Wellesley College, 106 Central Street, Wellesley, MA 02481.


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Evelyn Waugh Undergraduate Essay Contest

Through the generosity of an anonymous patron, Evelyn Waugh Newsletter and Studies is able to sponsor the fifth annual Evelyn Waugh Undergraduate Essay Contest. The editors welcome essays on any aspect of Waugh’s life or work. Essays should normally be no longer than 5000 words or 20 pages. The prize is $250. The deadline is 31 December 2009. Submit essays to Dr. John H. Wilson, English Dept., Lock Haven University, Lock Haven PA 17745, or

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ALSC Members Present at AWP Conference in Chicago

Several ALSC members are presenters at this year’s Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) Conference, held February 11th to 14th at the Hilton in Chicago, Illinois. The AWP Annual Conference is an essential gathering for writers and those in the literature field. Featured readers this year include ALSC members Andrew Hudgins (The Ohio State University), Heather McHugh (University of Washington) and David Yezzi (The New Criterion). Reginald Gibbons, Professor of English at Northwestern, will participate in a featured tribute to Thomas McGrath.

The ALSC is well-represented in the Conference’s numerous panels, forums, and readings by such distinguished poets and literary professionals as Paul Breslin (Northwestern University), Molly McQuade, Don Share (Poetry magazine), A. E. Stallings, and Rosanna Warren (Boston University).

For a complete listing of Conference events and exhibits, and for more information about the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, please visit

– Richie Hofmann

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Carole M. Watson Appointed Acting Chairman of the NEH

ALSC congratulates Carole M. Watson on her appointment to the position of Acting Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. President Obama made the appointment on February 10. Read the NEH’s press release here.

Outgoing Chairman Bruce Cole, who served the NEH tirelessly and with great success for an unprecedented 7 years, stepped down on January 1 (read the NEH’s press release here). Cole, who is now serving as President and CEO of the American Revolution Center, was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by President George W. Bush on November 17, 2008. This is the second highest honor that can be conferred on an American civilian. ALSC commends Chairman Cole on his great service to the Humanities and the country.

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ALSC Celebrates Lincoln’s 200th

ALSC celebrates the memory of arguably the greatest American president. We invite our members and Website visitors to view streaming video from the seminar “Masters of English Prose: Johnson, Lincoln, Churchill,” which ALSC co-sponsored in July of 2007 with the National Endowment for the Humanities and Boston University. The video features a lecture by ALSC Past President Jim Engell of Harvard University. The seminar was directed by long-time ALSC member John C. Briggs (University of California, Riverside)–author of Lincoln’s Speeches Reconsidered (Johns Hopkins UP, 2005), a uniquely extensive close reading of Lincoln’s pre-presidential and presidential speeches—and co-directed by fellow ALSC members Paul Alkon (University of Southern California) and Bruce Redford (Boston University). Members will also know Dr. Briggs’ work from the inaugural issue of ALSC’s special-topics journal Forum, “Writing Without Reading: The Decline of Literature in the Composition Classroom.”

For a wealth of Lincoln-related articles, visit the archive found on the Website of the New York Times.

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Robert Pinsky to Speak Tonight in Chicago

A reprint of a press release of interest.

Art Beyond Borders: Robert Pinsky

Fullerton Hall
Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Free admission

While serving as U.S. Poet Laureate for an unprecedented three terms from 1997 to 2000, Robert Pinsky founded the Favorite Poem Project, which gave a resonant voice to America’s vigorous and varied poetry audience. Pinsky has been active as a critic, poet, translator of verse, and recently authored a prose book, The Life of David (2005). His newest book—his seventh—is Gulf Music (2007), winner of the 2008 Theodore Roethke Prize. Pinsky is a professor at Boston University and the poetry editor for the online magazine, Slate. He has also written the “Poet’s Choice” column for the Washington Post, and has been a regular commentator on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. In 2003, he made a cameo appearance on the popular television show The Simpsons.

Co-sponsored by Poetry Foundation and Art Institute of Chicago

brings together Chicago’s leading cultural institutions—Poetry Foundation, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Chicago Council on Global Affairs—to celebrate cultural, social, and political life around the world. Leading museum directors, renowned musicians, poets from around the world, and cultural leaders explore the role of art and culture in our ever-shrinking globe.

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Oxford UP Announces New Book by Willard Spiegelman

cover of Imaginative Transcripts by Willard Spiegelman

cover of Imaginative Transcripts by Willard Spiegelman

A reprint of a press release of interest.

Oxford University Press is thrilled to announce the release of Imaginative Transcripts by Willard Spiegelman.

Considered one of the finest critics of poetry writing today, Willard Spiegelman brings his trademark engaging and stylish prose to this collection of his best work on the subject. Spiegelman takes readers on a tour of the rich and diverse landscape of British and American poetry, providing nuanced, insightful readings of works by William Wordsworth, John Keats, Robert Lowell, and others, and offering essays that span his entire career and chart his changing relationship to the elusive form.

Click here to order the book.

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Azar Nafisi Interviewed by

In conjunction with the January 2009 release of her second memoir, Things I’ve Been Silent About, author and teacher Azar Nafisi gives an exclusive interview to for their popular “10 Questions With…” series.

In the interview, Nafisi shares her motivations for writing the book and answers questions about the difficulties of writing to an international audience. She eagerly emphasizes the significance of storytelling “as a way to communicate with the world” and learning how “to deal with books… [as] a participatory process.” Ms. Nafisi’s book is not just about Iran, or just about the personal memories she has of her mother: it is about the boundary between fact and fiction, and what she calls an “entry permit” into literature whose appeal is universal. “I hope that people in Iran understand that this is not about dirty secrets,” she says; “I hope they will read it as a desire to discover some truth and as a celebration of individual lives.”

Her fundamental message of connecting through literature and culture resonates particularly strongly in the current partisan atmosphere, and she maintains that “the simplistic notions that politics creates about other people is all negated through reading books.”

Ms. Nafisi is certainly well qualified to speak and write on the subject, having experienced firsthand the evolution of Iranian society under the new regime. She has written extensively about Iranian culture and is celebrated for what she calls her “obsession” with liberal arts and culture, but also for her strong belief in education, which fuels the plot of her memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran.

Azar Nafisi will be the featured speaker at the Fifteenth Annual ALSC Conference, to be held in Denver Colorado, October 2009.

Goodreads is the largest social network for readers in the world, allowing members to review books, contact authors, hold discussion groups, post original writing, and more.

– Chelsea Bell & Erin McDonagh

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Celebrate National Poetry Month with Free Copies of POETRY

A reprint of a press release of interest from the Poetry Foundation.

You supply the readers, we’ll supply the poems!

A limited number of free copies of the April 2009 issue of Poetry will be given to book discussion groups that request them by March 1. You’ll be able to consider the thought-provoking commentary and poems—or simply read them aloud. All we ask in return is that you send us a brief account of your discussion.

Requests for free issues must be received by March 1. Only one address per book group, please. Because of the cost of shipping and handling, each group is limited to ten free copies. Additional copies are available for $1.75. Issues will ship late-March. Requests can be made on online only at:

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